‘Your Heart Matters’ Draws Crowd To Tamarac
More than 140 show love for their hearts at Gerber Memorial’s health event
FREMONT – We heart our hearts.
That was the message from more than 140 people who attended Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial’s “Your Heart Matters” event Saturday, February 18, at Tamarac. Coming from across Newaygo County, attendees received a wide range of free health screenings, learned information about staying heart healthy and enjoyed nutritious snacks and beverages.
Attendee Judy Hoezee of Fremont said she’s always been mindful of her health. She comes to Tamarac three times a week to exercise and take part in classes such as pilates and PiYo.
“I want to make sure I know about my heart health and learn about managing diseases like diabetes,” Hoezee said after she took a three-minute step test that gauges a person’s cardiovascular endurance. More than 25 people took the step test.
Josh Gustafson, director of Gerber Memorial’s community health services, said...
...he’s thrilled with the large turnout from members of the community.
“Gerber Memorial is really encouraged that so many women and men throughout Newaygo County are coming out on a Saturday morning to get free screenings and take charge of their health and wellness,” Gustafson said. “Our community health team is excited to share resources with the families we serve so more people can take steps to prevent illnesses and enjoy better health.”
The inaugural “Your Heart Matters” event featured free screenings, including lipid panel, or cholesterol screenings; glucose level, or diabetic screening; blood pressure checks; pulse checks to detect irregular heart rates that increase risk of a stroke; pulse oximetry screening, or screening of blood oxygen levels to ensure organs are getting enough oxygen; and more.
Lisa Deur dragged her dad, Dan Ward, both of Fremont to the event. Ward sat through several screenings, including a blood pressure check. In addition to the checkups and the snacks, Ward said he attended the free event for an additional reason: “The price was right.”
Deur chimed in: “And the food was free.”
James Ruble, a physical therapy student from George Washington University interning at Gerber Memorial’s outpatient rehabilitation department, gave Pam Miller of White Cloud – who initially came to get her cholesterol screened for free – a few tips on how to check her heart rate.
“Knowing your heart rate can help us figure out what’s a good exercise intensity and encourages minimum exercise recommendations to prevent heart disease,” Ruble said. “We’re seeing a lot of people come through who are in awesome shape for their age so we can help make sure they stay on the right track.”
In a separate room at Tamarac, Diane Rexford, NP, a board certified nurse practitioner specializing in cardiovascular medicine, shared more information with over 20 women about heart disease, which is the leading cause of death and disability in women.
Rexford reminded her audience that heart attack symptoms for women can be different from men’s and not always as portrayed by Hollywood, with a person clutching their left chest. More women, Rexford said, die from heart attacks than from breast cancer.
Rexford identified common symptoms in women – trouble breathing, pain in the neck and other areas, nausea, among others.
Unlike men, women also face unique heart disease risks: early onset of menstrual cycles may be a contributing factor, as well as post-menopausal status and pregnancy-related complications.
Rexford highlighted proactive measures people can take that involve managing their cholesterol, blood pressure and diet.
Low-salt, low cholesterol diets are key to staying heart heath Rexford said, recommending people bake, broil or barbecue –and never fry – their food.
“I tell people, ‘Always drive by, never drive through,’” she quipped.
“If you smoke, you have to stop,” she said, adding that because women are caregivers, they also face greater stress – a topic Amy Drilling, RN, and receptionist Dawn Pickard fielded from many attendees at their station for The Skincare Center and Spa.
“We talked to a lot of women about stress awareness and how massage therapy can help,” Drilling said. “Women have a lot on their plate. They’re often the primary caregiver, they often work and they don’t have time to care for themselves. Their health gets put on the back burner. By coming to the Spa, they can better manage their stress and improve their health.”